“No, he has not come with me.”
“Mary!” shrieked Regie, “he has not come.”
“I knew he had not,” said Mary. “When I saw he was not there I knew he was somewhere else.”
Dear little Mary was naturally the Gresleys’ favorite child. However thoroughly they might divest themselves of parental partiality, they could not but observe that she was as sensible as a grown-up person.
“I thought he might be somewhere near,” explained Regie, “in a tree or something,” looking up into the little yew. “You can’t tell with a conjurer like Uncle Dick, can you, Auntie Hester, whatever Mary may say?”
“Mary is generally wrong,” said Hester, “but she is right for once.”
Mary, who was early acquiring the comfortable habit of hearing only the remarks that found an echo in her own breast, heard she was right, and said, shrilly:
“I told Regie when we was still on the road that Uncle Dick wasn’t there. Mother doesn’t always go with father, but he said he’d run and see.”
“We shall be ver’r late for luncheon,” said Fraeulein, hastily, blushing down to the onyx brooch at her turn-down collar, and drawing Mary away.
“Perhaps he left the half-penny with you,” said Regie. “Fraeulein would like to see it.”
“No, no,” said Fraeulein, the tears in her eyes. “I do not vish at all. I cry half the night when I hear of it.”
“I only cry when baby beats me,” said Mary, balancing on one leg.
“I have not got the half-penny,” said Rachel, the three elders studiously ignoring Mary’s personal reminiscences.
The children were borne away by Fraeulein, and the friends kissed and parted.
“I am coming to Wilderleigh to-morrow,” said Rachel. “I shall be much nearer to you then.”
“It is no good contending against Dick and fate,” said Hester, shaking her finger at her. “You see it is all decided for you. Even the children have settled it.”
If a fool be associated
with a wise man all his life, he will
perceive the truth as little as a spoon perceives the taste of
“I can’t think what takes you to Wilderleigh,” said Lady Newhaven to Rachel. “I am always bored to death when I go there. Sybell is so self-centred.”
Perhaps one of the reasons why Lady Newhaven and Sybell Loftus did not “get on” was owing to a certain superficial resemblance between them.
Both exacted attention, and if they were in the same room together it seldom contained enough attention to supply the needs of both. Both were conscious, like “Celia Chettam,” that since the birth of their first child their opinions respecting literature, politics, and art had acquired additional weight and solidity, and that a wife and mother could pronounce with decision on important subjects where a spinster