“I knew something would happen,” thought the wise old lady, as she passed a biscuit up to the parrot on her shoulder.
“Kathir Khairak,” it said delightedly.
It merely means “thank you,” but had taken weeks of teaching and repeating to master.
“Lor! but women’s rum cattle
to deal with, the
first man found that to his cost;
And I reckon it’s just through a woman, that the
last man on earth’ll be lost.”
G. R. SIMS.
Damaris was the only daughter of Squire Hethencourt. Her mother was an Italian from the Udino, where the hair of the women is genuine Titian-red and the eyes are blue; which perhaps accounted for her colouring and some part of her temperament.
Her type of beauty was certainly remarkable—given, it must be confessed, to a certain amount of fluctuation—and she danced divinely, which gift must not be counted as a parlour-trick; she was slow in her movements and quiet in her manner until she talked of horses or anybody she loved; then her great eyes would flash and her laugh ring out, also she would gesticulate as her mother had been wont to do, until the climate, maybe, of a northern country had served to repress the spontaneity of her Latin mannerisms.
She was simple and unsophisticated and would have made a splendid little chum, if only one out of every three men who met her had not been consumed with a desire to annex her for life by means of a gold ring.
“Dads,” she exclaimed, two months before the beginning of this story, having enticed him to her bedroom one night and offered him cream chocolates as he eat at the foot of her bed, facing her. “Dads, what am I to do? Guy Danvers says he is coming to see you to-morrow, and I—I am sure it will only turn out to be—well—you, know.”
“But, Golliwog dear, I’m the one to be pitied. This makes the—how many is it?”
“I don’t know, Dads, and it isn’t the number; it’s the awful habit they’ve got into—and I don’t understand anything and I don’t encourage them, do I? Do lend me a hankie—this chocolate has burst—and what am I to do?”
“Turn a deaf ear, or a cold shoulder, or put a brave face on, until------” said Dads, retrieving his handkerchief.
“Until the right man comes along, darling, as he surely will.”
The girl’s lids suddenly dropped until the lashes lay like a fringe upon the white cheek over which very slowly but very surely crept the faintest of rose-colours.
“Hum!” said Dads to himself, as he made great use of the hankie.
“Do smoke, dearest!”
“No, thank you, pet; I couldn’t here.”
The man who worshipped his wife and adored his little daughter looked round the white and somewhat austere room, and ran his eye over the bookstand at his elbow.