Philip Gaddesden meanwhile could not be induced to leave the car. While the others were going through the splendid stables and cowsheds, kept like a queen’s parlour, he and the pretty girl were playing at bob-cherry in the saloon, to the scandal of Yerkes, who, with the honour of the car and the C.P.R. and Canada itself on his shoulders, could not bear that any of his charges should shuffle out of the main item in the official programme.
But Elizabeth, as before, saw everything transfigured; the splendid Shire horses; the famous bull, progenitor of a coming race; the sheds full of glistening cows and mottled calves. These smooth, sleek creatures, housed there for the profit of Canada and her farm life, seemed to Elizabeth no less poetic than the cattle of Helios to Delaine. She loved the horses, and the patient, sweet-breathed kine; she found even a sympathetic mind for the pigs.
Presently when her host, the owner, left her to explain some of his experiments to the rest of the party, she fell to Anderson alone. And as she strolled at his side, Anderson found the June afternoon pass with extraordinary rapidity. Yet he was not really as forthcoming or as frank as he had been the day before. The more he liked his companion, the more he was conscious of differences between them which his pride exaggerated. He himself had never crossed the Atlantic; but he understood that she and her people were “swells”—well-born in the English sense, and rich. Secretly he credited them with those defects of English society of which the New World talks—its vulgar standards and prejudices. There was not a sign of them certainly in Lady Merton’s conversation. But it is easy to be gracious in a new country; and the brother was sometimes inclined to give himself airs. Anderson drew in his tentacles a little; ready indeed to be wroth with himself that he had talked so much of his own affairs to this little lady the day before. What possible interest could she have taken in them!
All the same, he could not tear himself from her side. Whenever Delaine left his seat by the lake, and strolled round the corner of the wood to reconnoitre, the result was always the same. If Anderson and Lady Merton were in sight at all, near or far, they were together. He returned, disconsolate, to Homer and the reeds.
As they went back to Winnipeg, some chance word revealed to Elizabeth that Anderson also was taking the night train for Calgary.
“Oh! then to-morrow you will come and talk to us!” cried Elizabeth, delighted.
Her cordial look, the pretty gesture of her head, evoked in Anderson a start of pleasure. He was not, however, the only spectator of them. Arthur Delaine, standing by, thought for the first time in his life that Elizabeth’s manner was really a little excessive.
The car left Winnipeg that night for the Rockies. An old man, in a crowded emigrant car, with a bundle under his arm, watched the arrival of the Gaddesden party. He saw Anderson accost them on the platform, and then make his way to his own coach just ahead of them.