She turned and went quickly into the house, leaving Gillian conscious of a sudden uneasiness—that queer “trouble ahead” feeling which descends upon us sometimes, without warning and without our being able to assign any very definite cause for it.
She was thinking over the little incident now, as she sat sewing in the evening light, and meditating whether she should give Magda a hint that it might be kinder of her not to monopolise so much of Dan’s society. And then the crisp sound of a horse trotting on the hard, dry road came to her ears, and almost immediately the high dog-cart swung between the granite gateposts and clattered into the yard.
Dan tossed the reins on to the horse’s neck and, springing to the ground, came round to help Magda down from the cart.
“It’s rather a steep step. Let me lift you down,” he said.
Magda stood up in the trap and looked down at him with smiling eyes, unconsciously delighting in his sheer physical good looks. He was a magnificent specimen of manhood, and the good yeoman blood in him, which had come down through the generations of the same sturdy stock, proclaimed itself in his fine physique and splendid virility.
A moment later he had swung her down as easily as though she were a child, and she was standing beside him.
She laughed up at him.
“Oh, ’girt Jan Ridd’!” she exclaimed softly.
He laughed back, well pleased. (Was there ever a man who failed to be ridiculously flattered by a feminine tribute to his physical strength?) Nor did his hands release her quite at once.
“You’re as light as a feather! I could carry you all day and—”
“Not know it!” concluded Magda gaily.
His hands fell away from her slim body abruptly.
“Oh, I should know it right enough!” he said jerkily.
His eyes kindled, and Magda, conscious of something suddenly disturbing and electric in the atmosphere, turned quickly and, leaving Storran to unharness the horse, made her way to where she espied Gillian sitting.
The latter looked up from her sewing.
“So you’ve got back? Did you have a good time?”
“Yes. It was quite amusing. There were heaps and heaps of ponies—some of them wild, unbroken colts which had been brought straight off the Moor. They were rearing and plunging all over the place. I loved them! By the way, I’m gong to learn riding, Gillyflower. Mr. Storran has offered to teach me. He says he has a nice quiet mare I could start on.”
A small frown puckered Gillian’s brows.
“Do you think Mrs. Storran will like it?”
“Why on earth shouldn’t she?”
“Well,”—Gillian spoke with a vague discomfort. “He’s her husband!”
“I don’t see what that has to do with it,” replied Magda. “We’re staying here and, of course, the Storrans want to make it as nice as they can for us. Anyway, I’m going to take such goods as the gods provide.”