He waited some moments, then his voice sounded gently, half mocking, half reproachful.
“Nay!” he said.
“I don’t want to.”
“Why not?” she asked.
He laughed, but did not reply.
She sat perfectly still for some time. She had ceased to cry. In the darkness her face was set and sullen. Sometimes a spray of rain blew across it. She drew her hand from his, and rose to her feet.
“Ill go in now,” she said.
“You’re not offended, are you?” he asked.
They stepped down in the darkness from their perch.
She strode off for some little way. Then she turned and said:
“Yes, I think it is rather insulting.”
“Nay,” he said. “Not it! Not it!”
And he followed her to the gate.
She opened with her key, and they crossed the road to her door.
“Good-night,” she said, turning and giving him her hand.
“You’ll come and have dinner with me—or lunch—will you? When shall we make it?” he asked.
“Well, I can’t say for certain—I’m very busy just now. I’ll let you know.”
A policeman shed his light on the pair of them as they stood on the step.
“All right,” said Aaron, dropping back, and she hastily opened the big door, and entered.
A PUNCH IN THE WIND
The Lillys had a labourer’s cottage in Hampshire—pleasant enough. They were poor. Lilly was a little, dark, thin, quick fellow, his wife was strong and fair. They had known Robert and Julia for some years, but Josephine and Jim were new acquaintances,—fairly new.
One day in early spring Lilly had a telegram, “Coming to see you arrive 4:30—Bricknell.” He was surprised, but he and his wife got the spare room ready. And at four o’clock Lilly went off to the station. He was a few minutes late, and saw Jim’s tall, rather elegant figure stalking down the station path. Jim had been an officer in the regular army, and still spent hours with his tailor. But instead of being a soldier he was a sort of socialist, and a red-hot revolutionary of a very ineffectual sort.
“Good lad!” he exclaimed, as Lilly came up. “Thought you wouldn’t mind.”
“Not at all. Let me carry your bag.” Jim had a bag and a knapsack.
“I had an inspiration this morning,” said Jim. “I suddenly saw that if there was a man in England who could save me, it was you.”
“Save you from what?” asked Lilly, rather abashed.
“Eh—?” and Jim stooped, grinning at the smaller man.
Lilly was somewhat puzzled, but he had a certain belief in himself as a saviour. The two men tramped rather incongruously through the lanes to the cottage.
Tanny was in the doorway as they came up the garden path.