When quite satisfied that she would never find what she sought without help, Ransom stepped from his hiding-place and joined her among the grassy hillocks. The start of pleasure she gave and her almost childish look of relief warmed his heart, and it was with a smile he waited for her to speak.
“My father’s grave!” she explained. “I was looking for my father’s grave. I remember my mother taking me to it when I was little. There was a bush close by it—oh! I see what you think. The bush would be big now—I forgot that. And something else! You are thinking of something else. Oh, I know, I know. He wouldn’t be lying alone any more. My mother must have died, or sister would have taken me to her. There ought to be two graves.”
He nodded, and taking her by the hand led her to the family monument. She gazed at it for a moment, amazed, then laid her finger on one of the inscriptions.
“My father’s name?” she asked.
She hung her head thoughtfully for a moment, then slipping to the other side of the stone laid her hand on another.
Again he signified yes.
“And this? Is this sister’s name? No, she’s not buried yet. I had a brother. Is it his?”
Ransom bowed. How tell her that it was a false inscription and that the man whose death it commemorated was not only alive but had only a little while before spoken to her.
“I didn’t like my brother. He was cruel and liked to hurt people. I’m glad he’s dead.”
Ransom drew her away. Her frankness was that of a child, but it produced an uncomfortable feeling. He didn’t like this brother either, and in this thoughtless estimate of hers he seemed to read a warning to which his own nature intuitively responded.
“Come!” he motioned, leading the way out.
She followed with a smile, and together they entered the highway. As they did so, Ransom caught sight of a man speeding down the hill before them on a bicycle. He had not come front the upper road, or they would have seen him as he flew past the gateway. Where had he come from, then? From the peep-hole where Ransom himself had stood a few minutes before. No other conclusion was possible, and Ransom felt both angry and anxious till he could find out who the man was. This he did not succeed in doing till he reached the hotel. There a bicycle leaning against a tree gave point to his questions, and he learned that it belonged to a clerk in one of the small stores near by, but that the man who had just ridden it up and down the road on a trial of speed was the stranger who had just come to town with Mr. Hazen.
ON THE CARS
This episode, which to Ransom’s mind would bear but one interpretation, gave him ample food for thought. He decided to be more circumspect in the future and to keep an eye out for inquisitive strangers. Not that he had any thing to conceal, but no man enjoys having his proceedings watched, especially where a woman is concerned.