“This paper evidently has its doubts,” Gladys commented. “They are frauds, of course.”
“I dare say they are,” the Vicar’s wife replied, “though I believe in thought-reading and other things they say they can do. I advised Miss Rosenberg to see them about her dream. She went in by the nine o’clock train. Had you come a few minutes earlier you would have seen her.”
“Well, thanks awfully,” Gladys said, “for telling me about these people. Very probably I’ll go in to Town some time during the day and call at Cockspur Street. I must apologize again for calling at such an unearthly hour. Good-bye,” and Gladys smilingly took her departure.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
Shortly after Gladys reached home after her visit to the Vicarage, a young man with a serious expression somewhat out of keeping with his jaunty walk, entered the gate of Pine Cottage, and came to an abrupt halt.
“Well,” he ejaculated, “this is a pretty place, and what’s more—for dozens of houses and gardens are pretty—it’s artistic!” In front of him stretched a miniature avenue of chestnut trees, which was rendered striking, even to the most casual observer, probably, not only on account of the irregular mounds of moss-covered stones that occupied its intervening spaces, but also, by reason of the masses of wild flowers (great clumps of which were springing up in the crevices of this impromptu wall) that lent to it an appearance half negligent, but wholly and entrancingly picturesque. Here, undoubtedly, was art. That did not astonish the young man. All avenues, in the ordinary sense, are works of art; and the mere excess of art he saw manifested did not surprise him; it was the character of the art that had brought him to a standstill and held him spellbound. And the longer he looked the more he became convinced, that whoever had superintended the arrangement of this scenery was an artist—an artist with a scrupulous eye for form.
The greatest care had been taken to keep the balance between neatness and gracefulness on the one hand and picturesqueness on the other. There were few straight lines, and no long uninterrupted ones; whilst at no one point of view did the same effect of curvature or colour appear twice. Variety in uniformity was the keynote.
At last tearing himself away from this one spot—where he felt he could have spent centuries—he turned to the right and then again to the left—for the path had now become serpentine, and at no moment could be traced for more than two or three paces in advance. Presently the sound of water fell gently on his ear, and in the shadiest of diminutive forests, amidst the interlacing branches of elm and beech, he caught the glimpse of a fountain. For an instant the wild thought of forcing his way through it, of plunging his burning forehead in its cooling spray, well-nigh mastered him. But his better sense conquered,