Uncle Max eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 570 pages of information about Uncle Max.

‘Lawrence has gone without me,’ he replied.  ’I had a headache, and so I sent an excuse; but, as it got better, I thought I would come up and see how you were getting on.’

‘A headache, Uncle Max!’ looking at him rather anxiously, for I had never heard him complain of any ailment before.  I had been dissatisfied with his appearance ever since I had come to Heathfield; he had looked worn and thin for some time, but to-night he looked wretched.

‘Oh, it is nothing,’ he returned quickly.  ’Miss Hamilton, I hardly expected to find you here with Ursula.  I thought you were all going to the Maberleys’.’

‘Etta and Giles have gone,’ she replied quietly.  ’I ought not to be here, as Lady Betty is alone at Gladwyn; but Miss Garston persuaded me to remain; but it is getting late.  I must be going,’ rising as she spoke.

‘There is not the slightest need for you to hurry,’ observed Max; ’it is not so very late, and I will walk up with you to Gladwyn.’

‘Indeed, I hope you will do nothing of the kind,’ she said hurriedly.  ’Miss Garston, will you please tell him that there is no need, no need at all? indeed, I would much rather not.’

Miss Hamilton had lost all her repose of manner; she looked as nervous and shy as any school-girl when Max announced his intention of escorting her; and yet how could any gentleman have allowed her to go down those dark roads alone?

Perhaps Max thought she was unreasonable, for there was a touch of satire in his voice as he answered her: 

’I certainly owe it to my conscience to see you safe home.  What would Hamilton say if I allowed you to go alone?—­Ursula,’ turning to me with an odd look, ’it is a fine starlight night; suppose you put on your hat,—­a run will do you good,—­and relieve Miss Hamilton’s mind.’

‘Yes, do come,’ observed Miss Hamilton, in a relieved voice; but, as she spoke, her lovely eyes seemed appealing to him, and begging him not to be angry with her; but he frowned slightly, and turned aside and took up a book.  How was it those two contrived to misunderstand each other so often?  Max looked even more hurt than he had done at Gladwyn.

I was not surprised to find that when I left the room Miss Hamilton followed me, but I was hardly prepared to hear her say in a troubled voice,—­

’Oh, how unfortunate I am!  I would not have had this happen for worlds.  Etta will—­oh, what am I saying?—­I am afraid Mr. Cunliffe is offended with me because I did not wish him to go home with me—­but,’ a little proudly and resentfully, ’he is too old a friend to misunderstand me, so he need not have said that.’

‘I think Uncle Max is not well to-night,’ I replied soothingly.  ’I never heard him speak in that tone before; he is always so careful not to hurt people’s feelings.’

‘Yes, I know,’ stifling a sigh; ’it is more my fault than his; he is looking wretchedly ill; and—­and I think he is a little offended with me about other things; it is impossible to explain, and so he misjudges me.’

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Uncle Max from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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