‘Oh, there is nothing more to tell,’ she returned triumphantly. ’Giles silenced her so completely that she did not dare to open her lips again. Oh, she is properly frightened of Giles when he is in one of his moods. He told her that he disliked observations of this sort, that in his opinion they were both undignified and vulgar, especially when they related to a person whom he so much respected as Miss Garston. “And allow me to remark,” he continued, looking at poor little me rather fiercely, as though I were in fault too, “that I shall consider it an honour if Miss Garston bestows her friendship on any member of my household. I am very glad she seems to like Gladys, and I only hope she will do the poor girl good and come every day if she likes, and that is all I mean to say on the subject.” But I think he said quite enough; don’t you, Miss Garston?’ finished naughty Lady Betty, looking up at me with such innocent eyes that I could not have scolded her any more than I could have scolded a kitten.
But if only Lady Betty could learn to hold her tongue—!
That afternoon I had rather an adventure. I was just walking up the hill on my way to the post-office, when a handsome carriage came round the corner by the church rather sharply, and the same moment a little dog crossing the road in the dusk seemed to be under the horses’ feet.
That was my first impression. My next was that the coachman was trying to pull up his horses. There was a sudden howl, the horses kicked and plunged, some one in the carriage shrieked, and then the little dog was in my arms, and even in the dim light I could feel one poor little leg was broken.
The horses were quieted with difficulty, and the footman got down and went to the carriage window.
‘It is poor little Flossie, ma’am,’ he said, touching his hat: ’she must have got out into the road and recognised the carriage, for she was under the horses’ feet. This lady got her out somehow.’ And indeed I had no idea how I had managed it. One of the horses had reared, and his front hoof almost touched me as I snatched up Flossie. I suppose it was a risky thing to do, for I never liked the remembrance afterwards, and I do not believe I could have done it again.
‘Oh dear! oh dear!’ observed a pleasant voice, ’do let me thank the lady. Stand aside, Williams.’ And a pretty old lady with white hair looked out at me.
‘I am afraid the poor dog’s leg is broken,’ I observed, as the little animal lay in my arms uttering short barks of pain. ’Happily your man pulled up in time, or it must have been killed.’
‘Oh dear! oh dear! what will the colonel say to such carelessness?’ exclaimed the old lady. ’He’s so fond of Flossie, and makes such a fuss with her. And Mr. Hamilton has gone to Brighton, or I would have sent Flossie in for him to attend to her.’