Nightfall eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 375 pages of information about Nightfall.

“No! no! oh Val, don’t be so angry!”

“Lucky for him,” said Val, drawing a long breath and sitting down again, his whip across his knee.  “My dear little sister, you mustn’t make mysteries out of nothing at all!  I’m sorry I startled you, but you startled me:  I didn’t know what to make of it.  Hyde has not a very good name. . . .  In fact I’d rather you didn’t see too much of him unless Rose or I were there:  it was cheek of him to come up this afternoon when I was out, considering that he scarcely knows you:  but I suppose he thinks the Wancote show gives him right of entry.  That is the sort of thing a chap like Hyde does think.  Now begin again and tell me what it’s all about.”

“Oh, nothing, Val, nothing!” said Isabel, laughing, though the tears were not far from her eyes.  “I didn’t know you could get in such a wax if you tried!  It’s as you say, a little mystery of nothing at all.  I’d tell you like a shot if I could, but I can’t because it would be breaking a promise.”

“Hyde had no earthly right to make you promise.”

“It was of my own accord.”

“It is all wrong,” said Val.  “Promises and silly secrets between a child like you and a fellow like Hyde!” He was more grave and vexed than Isabel had ever seen him.  “There must be no more of it.”

“There won’t if I can help it!” said Isabel.  “I like Captain Hyde—­yes, I do:  I know you don’t, and I can quite see that he’s what Rose would call a bit of an outsider, but I’m sorry for him and there’s a great deal I like in him.  But I don’t want to see him again for years and years.”  She gave a little shiver of distaste:  if anything had been wanting to heighten the reaction of her youth against Hyde’s stained middle age, the evasions in which he had involved her would have done it.  “Now don’t scold me any more!  I’m innocent, and I feel rather sad.  The world looks unhomely this afternoon.  All except you!  You stay there where I can watch you:  you’re so comfortably English, so nice and cool and quiet!  There’s no one like you, no one:  the more I see of other people the more I like you!  I’m so glad you don’t wear linen clothes and a Panama hat and rings.  I’d give you away if you did with half a pound of tea.  No, it’s no use asking me any more questions because I shan’t answer them:  a promise is all the more binding if one would rather not keep it.  No, and it’s no use fishing either, I can keep a secret as well as you can—­”

She broke off before the white alteration in Val’s face.


“No,” said Isabel slowly:  “no, he never mentioned your name.”




“I say”

“What, then?”

“What’s all this about the Etchingham agency?”

Val Stafford, smoking a well-earned pipe some hours later in the evening sunlight on the vicarage lawn, looked up at his brother over the Chronicle with a faint frown.  “Who?”

Project Gutenberg
Nightfall from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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