Thoughts like these ran in her mind, and occasionally affected her manner when they did meet. Anderson found her more reserved, and noticed that she did not so often ask him for small services as of old. He suffered under the change; but it was, he knew, his own doing, and he did not alter his course.
Whenever he did come, he sat mostly with Philip, over whom he had gradually established a remarkable influence, not by any definite acts or speeches, but rather by the stoicism of his own mode of life, coupled with a proud or laughing contempt for certain vices and self-indulgences to which it was evident that he himself felt no temptation. As soon as Philip felt himself sufficiently at home with the Canadian to begin to jibe at his teetotalism, Anderson seldom took the trouble to defend himself; yet the passion of moral independence in his nature, of loathing for any habit that weakens and enslaves the will, infected the English lad whether he would or no. “There’s lots of things he’s stick-stock mad on,” Philip would say impatiently to his sister. But the madness told. And the madman was all the while consolingly rich in other, and, to Philip, more attractive kinds of madness—the follies of the hunter and climber, of the man who holds his neck as dross in comparison with the satisfaction of certain wild instincts that the Rockies excite in him. Anderson had enjoyed his full share of adventures with goat and bear. Such things are the customary amusements, it seemed, of a young engineer in the Rockies. Beside them, English covert-shooting is a sport for babes; and Philip ceased to boast of his own prowess in that direction. He would listen, indeed, open-mouthed, to Anderson’s yarns, lying on his long chair on the verandah—a graceful languid figure—with a coyote rug heaped about him. It was clear to Elizabeth that Anderson on his side had become very fond of the boy. There was no trouble he would not take for him. And gradually, silently, proudly, she allowed him to take less and less for herself.
Once or twice Arthur Delaine’s clumsy hints occurred to her. Was there, indeed, some private matter weighing on the young man’s mind? She would not allow herself to speculate upon it; though she could not help watching the relation between the two men with some curiosity. It was polite enough; but there was certainly no cordiality in it; and once or twice she suspected a hidden understanding.
Delaine meanwhile felt a kind of dull satisfaction in the turn of events. The intimacy between Anderson and Lady Merton had clearly been checked, or was at least not advancing. Whether it was due to his own hints to Elizabeth, or to Anderson’s chivalrous feeling, he did not know. But he wrote every mail to Mrs. Gaddesden, discreetly, yet not without giving her some significant information; he did whatever small services were possible in the case of a man who went about Canada as a Johnny Head-in-air, with his mind in another hemisphere; and it was understood