And so the years wore on, till at length Beatrice knew that a crisis was at hand. Even the tardiest and most retiring lover must come to the point at last, if he is in earnest, and Owen Davies was very much in earnest. Of late, to her dismay, he had so far come out of his shell as to allow himself to be nominated a member of the school council. Of course she knew that this was only to give him more opportunities of seeing her. As a member of the council, he could visit the school of which she was mistress as often as he chose, and indeed he soon learned to take a lively interest in village education. About twice a week he would come in just as the school was breaking up and offer to walk home with her, seeking for a favourable opportunity to propose. Hitherto she had always warded off this last event, but she knew that it must happen. Not that she was actually afraid of the man himself; he was too much afraid of her for that. What she did fear was the outburst of wrath from her father and sister when they learned that she had refused Owen Davies. It never occurred to her that Elizabeth might be playing a hand of her own in the matter.
From all of which it will be clear, if indeed it has not become so already, that Beatrice Granger was a somewhat ill-regulated young woman, born to bring trouble on herself and all connected with her. Had she been otherwise, she would have taken her good fortune and married Owen Davies, in which case her history need never have been written.
A MATRIMONIAL TALE
Before Geoffrey Bingham dropped off into a troubled sleep on that eventful night of storm, he learned that the girl who had saved his life at the risk and almost at the cost of her own was out of danger, and in his own and more reticent way he thanked Providence as heartily as did Owen Davies. Then he went to sleep.