“I wish you would come,” she said, and laid a pleading hand on his arm. “I’m sure he would try to behave. I can generally manage him except when he’s been drinking. Then I’m afraid of him, and wish some one else was at hand. But that’s only when he’s been out all night at the fishing, and it’s soon over and done with. Do come, monsieur!”—It was almost a whisper now, and she leaned towards him—the rich dark face—the great solicitous eyes.
But she had mistaken her man. Perhaps she had not met many like him.
He shook off her hand almost brusquely.
“It is impossible, madame. I could not,” and he pushed past just as Nance came to the door.
She had seen him coming, heard their voices outside, and wondered what was keeping him.
She turned back into the house when she saw Julie, wondering still more. For Gard’s face was disturbed, and had in it something of the look she had seen more than once when he had faced Tom in his tantrums.
And, glancing past him, she had seen what he had not—Julie’s face when he turned his back on her.
“Mon Gyu!” gasped Nance to herself, and went in wondering.
“She and Tom wanted me to take my old room again, and I refused,” was all he said.
“Tom wanted you to go there?” said Mrs. Hamon in amazement.
“So she said.”
Grannie’s disparaging sniff was charged with libel.
* * * * *
“Well?” asked Tom of his wife, when he came in later on with Peter Mauger, who had come over for supper. “Got your lodger?”
“That’s what I told you,” with a provocative laugh.
“Oh, he’d have come quick enough.”
“Would, would he? Then why didn’t he?”
“I wouldn’t trust myself alone in the house with that man.”
“Ah!” said Tom, staring at her. “Always thought he was a bad lot myself, didn’t I, Peter?”
“It’s a wonder to me that Mrs. Hamon lets him run after that girl of hers as she does,” said Julie.
“If I catch him up to any of his tricks I’ll break his head for him.”
“Maybe it would be a good thing for little Nance if you did.”
“Knew he was a toad as soon as I set eyes on him, so did Peter. Didn’t you, Peter?”
“What d’he say to you?” demanded Tom.
“Didn’t say much. Asked if you were much away at the fishing and that. But the way he looked at me!—I’ve got the shivers down my back yet,” and a virtuous little shudder shook her and made a visible impression on Peter.
“Peter and me’ll maybe have a word with him one of these days, won’t we, Peter?”
“Maybe,” said Peter.
“We don’t want toads like Gard running off with any of our Sark girls, do we, Peter?”
“No,” said Peter.
“Mr. Gard had better look out for himself or take himself off before somebody does it for him. There’s plenty wouldn’t mind giving him a crack on the head and slipping him over the Coupee some dark night.”