A CHANGE AT THE PARSONAGE.
“What could presumptuous hope inspire.”—Rokeby.
There had been the usual foretaste of winter, rather sharp for Avonmouth, and though a trifle to what it was in less sheltered places, quite enough to make the heliotropes sorrowful, strip the fig-trees, and shut Colonel Keith up in the library. Then came the rain, and the result was that the lawn of Myrtlewood became too sloppy for the most ardent devotees of croquet; indeed, as Bessie said, the great charm of the sport was that one could not play it above eight months in the year.
The sun came back again, and re-asserted the claim of Avonmouth to be a sort of English Mentone; but drying the lawn was past its power, and Conrade and Francis were obliged to console themselves by the glory of taking Bessie Keith for a long ride. They could not persuade their mother to go with them, perhaps because she had from her nursery-window sympathized with Cyril’s admiration of the great white horse that was being led round to the door of Gowanbrae.
She said she must stay at home, and make the morning calls that the charms of croquet had led her to neglect, and in about half an hour from that time she was announced in Miss Williams’ little parlour, and entered with a hurried, panting, almost pursued look, a frightened glance in her eyes, and a flush on her cheek, such as to startle both Ermine and the Colonel.
“Oh!” she exclaimed, as if still too much perturbed to know quite what she was saying, “I—I did not mean to interrupt you.”