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George Barr McCutcheon
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 230 pages of information about Nedra.

“Then why did he change his seat?”

“Evidently did not want us to be staring him out of countenance all the time.  I notice, sister, that he took the seat next to yours and not to mine,” remarked he insinuatingly.

“Which proves that he is no fool, brother,” she retorted.

CHAPTER VII

GLUM DAYS FOR MR. RIDGE

Gibraltar.  And the ship stopping only long enough to receive the mail and take on passengers; then off again.

During the voyage in the Bay of Biscay, Veath had done all in his power to relieve Hugh of the boredom which is supposed to fall upon the man who has a sister clinging to him.  At first Hugh rather enjoyed the situation, but as Veath’s amiable sacrifice became more intense, he grew correspondingly uncomfortable.  It was not precisely what he had bargained for.  There was nothing in Veath’s manner which could have been objectionable to the most exacting of brothers.

When he was trespassing Hugh hated him, but when they were together, with Grace absent, he could not but admire the sunny-faced, frank, stalwart Indianian.  When Hugh’s heart was sorest, a slap on the back from Veath, a cheery word and an unspoken pledge of friendship brought shame to take the place of resentment.

She was troubled, as well as he, by the turn of affairs; her distress managed to keep her awake of nights, especially when she began to realize there was no escape from consequences.  That usually pleasant word “brother” became unbearable to her; she began to despise it.  To him, the word “sister” was the foundation for unpublishable impressions.

Poor Veath knew nothing of all this and continued to “show Miss Ridge a good time.”  On the second night out of Gibraltar, he and Grace were strolling the deck.  He was happy, she in deep despair.  Down at the other end of the deck-house, leaning over the rail, smoking viciously, was Hugh, alone, angry, sulky.  It was a beautiful night, cool and crisp, calm and soft.  A rich full moon threw its glorious shimmer across the waves, flashing a million silvery blades along the watery pavement that seemed to lead to the end of the world.  Scores of passengers were walking the deck, and all were happy, save two.

For two days Hugh had found but little chance to speak with Grace.  She had plotted and calculated and so had he, but Veath gallantly upset the plans.

“This can’t go on any longer, or I’ll go back,” vowed Hugh as he glared with gloomy eyes at the innocent path of silver.

“Your brother is not very sociable of late, is he, Miss Ridge?” asked Veath, as they turned once more up the deck toward the disconsolate relative.  “There are a great many pretty young women on board, but he seems to ignore them completely.  I haven’t seen him speak to a woman in two days.”

“Perhaps he is in love,” she murmured half sedately.  Poor, lonely Hugh!  How she longed to steal up from behind and throw her arms about his neck.  Even though both fell overboard, it would be a pleasure, it seemed to her.

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