“Did you think it had come with the otter-skins, Carry?” the elder sister said, laughing; and the younger one retired, baffled and chagrined, but none the less resolved that before Gertrude White completely gave herself up to this blind infatuation for a savage country and for one of its worthless inhabitants, she would have to run the gauntlet of many a sharp word of warning and reproach.
IN LONDON AGAIN.
On through the sleeping counties rushed the train—passing woods, streams, fertile valleys, and clustering villages, all palely shrouded in the faint morning mist that had a sort of suffused and hidden sunlight in it; the world had not yet awoke. But Macleod knew that, ere he reached London people would be abroad; and he almost shrank from meeting the look of those thousands of eager faces. Would not some of them guess his errand? Would he not be sure to run against a friend of hers—an acquaintance of his own? It was with a strange sense of fear that he stepped out and on to the platform at Euston Station; he glanced up and down; if she were suddenly to confront his eyes! A day or two ago it seemed as if innumerable leagues of ocean lay between him and her, so that the heart grew sick with thinking of the distance; now that he was in the same town with her, he felt so close to her that he could almost hear her breathe.
Major Stuart has enjoyed a sound night’s rest, and was now possessed of quite enough good spirits and loquacity for two. He scarcely observed the silence of his companion. Together they rattled away through this busy, eager, immense throng, until they got down to the comparative quiet of Bury Street; and here they were fortunate enough to find not only that Macleod’s old rooms were unoccupied, but that his companion could have the corresponding chambers on the floor above. They changed their attire; had breakfast; and then proceeded to discuss their plans for the day. Major Stuart observed that he was in no hurry to investigate the last modifications of the drying-machines. It would be necessary to write and appoint an interview before going down into Essex. He had several calls to make in London; if Macleod did not see him before, they should meet at seven for dinner. Macleod saw him depart without any great regret.
When he himself went outside it was already noon, but the sun had not yet broken through the mist, and London seemed cold, and lifeless, and deserted. He did not know of any one of his former friends being left in the great and lonely city. He walked along Piccadilly, and saw how many of the houses were shut up. The beautiful foliage of the Green Park had vanished; and here and there a red leaf hung on a withered branch. And yet, lonely as he felt in walking through this crowd of strangers, he was nevertheless possessed with a nervous and excited fear that at any moment he might have to quail before the