Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

5 articles on this Page

? :li.:;i,,:m_fi;¿mlmm: :::fim1…

News
Cite
Share

? :li.i,m_fi;¿mlmm: :fim1 Œm_mmm- ? S For Love and Honour S as ? ? By HAROLD BINDLOSS, S? Author of "A Wide Dominion," Hia Adversary's Daughter," The ? ?? Kingdom of Courage," The Mistress of Bonaventure/' &c. ?? t:¡,í: 'Xx:i7l m i)i:-)(X_mm13;¿1f;< Alisoa, who was quite aware that she might !iave been expected to leave the room or make ller presence known, did neither. Instead. tihe drew her chair nearer the window, and j waited with an angry colour in her cheeks. Khe felt she would like to shake her distin- guished relative for his omciousness. She was also curious to hear her father's answer. Christopher, as it happened, looked Ttt Arnold with some sharpness. I suppose they do," he agreed. It would, however, be more to the purpose if you'd state why you <Jbjet to Harry." This wae the lead Arnold had been waiting ior, but he appeared to hesitate. "As I sug- gested. the subject's delicate——" "Just so," said Christopher, shortly. That being the case. there are two things you can do—either let it alone altogether, or eay what's in your mind plainly." Well," replied Arnold, ''I'm fond of Alison-she ha.s always been a favourite of mine—and, right or wrong, I've had an idea of late that .she's taking what we'll call an interest in Harry." He paused, and Alison rose partly from her chair, with an ominous sparkle in her eyes. She had a quick temper, and just then she was far from feeling fond of Arnold. In- deed, she had a hazy notion of stepping out Tipon the terrace and confronting him; but ebe desired to see how far lie would go, and sa.t down again. Harry." Arnold proceeded, has á. wild strain in him—we know where he got it from —and, of course, hia career as a young man wasn't particularly creditable." Admitting it, is it fair to condemn a man altogether because he may have been a littia v. ild when he was young? The trouble is that it's by no means cer- tain he has got over that wildness yet. In his <'ase past and present seem linked together. Now, while he was in London he wa-s on pretty good terms with a girl." I hardly think th&t.'? very unnatural," re- torted Christopher, with a 'augh. Alison heard and frowned. She '.vas not aa & rule uncharitable, but it struck her tha.t her father's levity was in this instance decidedly 'It)tlb of pce.. Did you know anything particular against :her? he add(d. I didn't then. She married one of my clerks—a simple-minded, plodding feUow, and a friend of Harry's—but not until the Jitter had gone abroad. I was a little sur- prised to discover they had renewed the acquaintance on his return, and there are jeasous for believing that he has spent some at least of his frequent and rather mysterious absences in the woman's company." Which would probably mclude her hus- 'ba.nd'e You said he was a friend. Wouldn't he object if he had any cause?" Arnold smiled suggestively. A dull, llOnest fellow, who is at work in my omce until six every evening; the last person, I should fancy, to notice anything suspicious. Is Harry, who with all his faults has a keenly active mind, likely to make a close companion of a man of that description? However, the .mü<>t significant fact is that Mrs. Grayson Jiaa lately spent a couple of \veeks with him At the inn, after her husband went home." "It was—injudicious, to say the least," <tnd Christopher frowned. Whether it was anything worse I can't determine—and it strikes me as very probable that you can't f h- r. Al'iioid's gesture h hi red that he might be I &ble to throA- a. Httle further light upon the matter if he were pressed, but he recognised that he had gone far enough. Harry, he thought, would be given the benefit of the tloubt; but the latter was now implanted in -Christopher's mind, which was something ac- complished. A doubt once established usually grows more or Ies.s rapidly. Realising this, Arnold turned the conversation into a dif- ferent channel, and while the men talked Alison ,sat very still with a. hot face in the ad- jacent room. Her faith in Arnold had been shaken, and t.ha was angry with him for assuming that she was falling under Harry's influence; but in epite of this, she asked herself what possible object he could have in warning her father against Harry unless he felt that it was jTecessary. Besides, it would be so easy to as- certain the truth of the most damaging part -of the story. It was hard to believe that any- thing d<*eply discreditable could be urged Against Harry-her views about him had changed so far-but, as her father had ad- mitted, he had at least been injudicious, and she felt incensed against him. Her .friends must be free from any shadow of re- proach. By-and-bye she roused herself with an effort, and went softly out of the room. CHAPTER XVIII. I A few days Inter Harry came upon Maud Elliot lying in her chair opposite & break in the hedgerow of a shady lane. It was a hot afternoon, and though the low tush pastures blazed green and g<jld in the sunshine, rent peak and high hill shoulder showed dim and blurred through a gauzy haze. Harry noticed that the girl's face was quieter than usual when he approached her. "I think you want cheering up, though you're generally brighter than the rest of us," hr3 said. Won't you ecnd that gardener fellow home and let me try to amuse you as we go along? Maud, who dismissed her attendant, smiled at him mischievously. Where were you thinking of going? Well," said Harry, I must confess that I had Low Wood in my mind. If you'll come with me it would be an excuse, because Christopher won't be at home." "That isn't flattering; but do you want an excuse for going there?" Harry met the girl's gaze. which was quietly searching. In a sense, I don't want one. though now and then I fell I need it. I'd like to think I was mistaken, but I can't always manage to do so." Maud laughed, though there was something -encouraging in her voice. That," she said, is a point you must ascertain for yourself. Even if I'd any ideas on the subject, I shouldn't communicate them." Harry sighed as he wheeled her chair through the cool shadow. You have a terse -way of saying the right thing—I often wish I jhad. It would be uncommonly useful now and then. On the other hand—though you're as sharp as a needle—you're willing to put up with me, and I can always understawl you." Ah! said Maud, my life's so severely eimple that I generally know my mind. If I'd health and wider interests, you might find me different; but, as you suggest, compre* tension is a very desirable thing." Harry made her a little grave inclination. It's not half so blesaed as sympathy." "They go together. Always avoid a mis- understanding. "I wish one could," said Harry. "It's difficult now and then." A fleeting look of pain crept into the girl's thin face. Yes," she agreed. Unfortu- nately, that's very true." They went on through the scented coolness 4,f a dim fir wood, and on reaching Low Wood Harry was not altogether pleased to see eeveral young men and women assembled about the tennis net on the lawn. He care- fully wheeled his companion into the coolest epot he could find, and when a game was finished Alison joined them. She was dressed in white, and Harry thought the light attire became her wonderfully well, but her eyes were not friendly. As a matter of fact. she had noticed his gentle care of hit companion, and remembering Arnold's hateful tale, wondered if he was a hypocrite. She admitted that as yet he had not been convicted, and then de- cided that he had no right to be even sus- pected. The man must he severely kept in his place until events or his future conduct cleared him, which was, perhaps, a natural if not an altogether reasonable attitude. Do you want a partner, if you're going to play again?" he inquired. No," said Alison, coldly. You might ask Mi&s Hunter; ahe was left out last game." Then aft,er a word or two with Maud she Doved away and called to Winter, who was lounging close hy: Are you too lazy to ioin us? "Çin. rn- with nislerit, .,)/1 whn saw mat Maua was waicning turn, broRe inte a rueful smile. "That,"he said, "is the kind of thing one finds it hard to understand." This time Maud, who looked somewhat puzzled, did not respond. Alison," she pointed out. "has the others to consider." "Just so," said Harry. "I'M go along to Miss Hunter, though I've reason for believing she doesn't approve of me." He played the next game with a forma] young woman who was once or twice ahno<t< rude to him. There are Englishwomen &n<t some Englishmen of her kind who consider it unbecoming to be gracious to anyone whose ideas and conversation differ In the slightest from those of the members of their own im- mediate circle. Harry knew the type, and it was to his credit that his companion never guessed the aversion he had for it. There were, however, further misfortunes in store for him, for presently strawberries and cream were brought out, and it being late in the season the former were slightly over-ripe. Harry brought his companion a liberal plate- ful. which she regarded coldly, partly because he had failed to notice that he was being patronised. Besides, she did not hold small outdoor fruit in much esteem. "I suppose you have left some?" she in- quired. "Oh, yes." said Harry, cheerfully. "I daresav, if it were neces.'ary, I could get you a few more." It would be quite superfluous. You must have vigorous appetites in Canada." Sure," agreed Harry. "Bigger than you folks seem to have in this country. Last time I got strawberries—in London-they brought me about half a dozen in the middle of a very elegant plate. Crockery, however, isn't sus taining, and when we eat fruit in British Columbia we get a basketful." We're more fastidious here." Well," said Harry, if there are more than you can manage, I daresay I could help you. The girl looked at him chillingly. In that case, hadn't you better bring another plate? It's customary to have one each in England." The Man was quite aware that he deserved this, but it left him unabashed. If she chose to set him down as a semi-barbarian, she could not reasonably blame him for adopting the manners of the wilds. "I've noticed that you're extravagant in these things," he replied. Of course, I don't suppose you have to wash them after- wards. This was playing up to his part, but what followed was unpremeditated; for Winter I spoke to him in passing, and turning abruptly, he dropped the plate. Clutching at it, lie only succeeded in turning it over, so that it descended in Miss Hunter's lap, where it crushed the ripe fruit that had preceded it. She wore a light-coloured, elaborately- flounced dress, which wns spattered with crimson stains when Harry removed the plate. He expressed his regret, and Winter, who had stopped, broke in. "I'm afraid the thing was partly my fault," he said. "No," declared Harry. "One must be honest; I did it all myself'" Aiison. coming up just then, glanced at him with obvious disapproval. "Then," she said, I really don't think you need be so proud of your exploit." Harry retired as speedily as possible, and seating himself beside Maud. informed her that he had come for consolation. Don't vou think your late companion de- serves it most?" she suggested. "No." said Harry; "I can't say I do. No doubt she has a dozen dresses, while I've been badiv injured in my feelings. Having only the one set, I can't change them when I go home. I don't mind Miss Hunter taking me for a wild man from the woods; the trouble is that Alison treats me as if I ought to be avoided. I don't think even upsetting straw- berries on a. young lady's dress quite justines it." Maud did' not think so either, because she had noticed Alison's unfriendly gratitude but she made no comment. Isn't the grass rather long for playing on? &be asked. A vonng man who was strolling by stopped. "I offered to cut it, but it seems something has gone wrong with the mower. Mr. Elliot has a complicated, chain-driven machine." "Now, said Harry, "there's a chance for me. I haven't struck a machine yet I couldn't manage. No doubt they keep it in yonder shed." He went away, and when Alison joined the group which had gathered round Maud's chair she asked. "Where's Harry?" I believe he's mending the mower," Maud answered, with some drvnoss. Alisou raised her eyebrows. What n curi- ous thing to do'" She did not trouble about Harry's absence until most of her guests were going, when she sent Winter in search of him. I)OLs Miss Elliot wish to return to Rule- hoime?" Harry asked. "No," replied Winter. "She said she wasn't going for half an hour." "Then anybody else who may happen to want me. before that will have to come here." said Harry. "This contraption has turned obstinate—o have I." Winter left him and went back to the two girls. "He won't come," he announced, with a grin. "Judging by the state he's in, he's been extracting a good deal of innocent amusement from your father's mowing machine." Alison made a gesture of indin'crenee; but on going towards the house by-and-bye sha came upon Harry standing, hot and dis- hevelled, behind the tool shed. He wore no vest. and had evidently just struggled into his jacket, which hung open. revealing the shirt frr-ely spattered with oil beneath, while a watch dangled loosely from cue pocket. There were rust smears upon his damp face, and more oil upon his hands. While she gazed at him in astonishment he ran the machine for- ward. and the grass new up about the whir- ring blades. "That's better, isn't it?" he asked, com- placently. I've regulated it so it just shaves the ground." "It's a pity you took so much trouble," Ali- son informed him. There's a man in the village who attends to such tilings, and it wasn't necessary for you to leave the others, unk-ss. of course, you preferred it." "I did," said Harry, calmly. "I'd better own to it, since you seem inclined to disregard the olive branch." "The olive branch?" Mv opening remark. Call it the white nag. if you like. It implied that I was will- ing to patch up a truce." That is almost as absurd as your slipping away as you did." The man smiled In a rather grim fashion. Then. if you won't be friendly, we'll clear the decks for action. First of all, why did you send me to Miss Hunter, who doesn't ap- prove of me? As it happens, though per- haps your friends probably wouldn't say such things. I'm not fond of her either; but it was quite an accident I upset those strawberries in her lap." I believe she's not convinced of it, Ali.- eon retorted. Leaving that out, can't you understand that I had several guests to eon- aider?" "It strikes me your duty as hostess was'-to have taken the worst player as a partner, and that's what I happen to be. I haven't had the leisure to become skilful in these amusements." Ali"on coloured angrily. There was truth in what he said. but it was insufferable that he should presume to rebuke her on such a point as this. Well," he added, I haven't finished yet. For some reason, I'm in disgrace; but as I'm not conscious of having done anything particularly unlawful lately, I'll ask you straight out what you have against me?" The question was embarrassing, because it was impossible that the girl should acquaint him with Arnold's account of his doings. You arc exaggerating." she coldly replied. "No," declared Harry; don't think I am. Now. it's not fair to condemn anybody without hearing him, and I'll wait while you «tate my onfnce." Alison glanced at him sharply. He did not look as if he could do anything very wrong; 'I-,ijt tberf was A)'n«td's u'x'leasant story, and snecouiftoniv refuse to oeueve tnab oy ab- suming that the latter had maliciously inven- ted it with a purpose, which scarcely seemed possible. You are a little absurd," she retorted. Harry moved a pace or two, so that she could not g?t past. It's very likely. It's the easiest thing in the world to make oneself look ridiculous, and I'm certainly not alto- gether pleased with you. On the other hand. that doesn't prevent me from desiring your good opinion. I've told you already that it's valuable to me." "Let me go,"said Alison I will. the moment you have told me what I've done." The eirl found the situation difficult. She could not get past th" ma. 't'o showed no sign of moving, and it was (l,re nnpossibLe to state his on'enee, while she wondered if he knew this and was presuming upon it. Then that lS[)l(,1On vanished, and 'he felt that if he were given the opportunity he could cleat nimself. She would ha'.e liked him to do no, even though this discredited Arnold and then, somewhat LiIlogically, she wished she had some means of punishing him for his obstinacy. Do you mean to keep me here all the evemng? she broke out. "The remedy is in your hands." Harry in- formed her. Alison did not answer, and Harry thought she had never looked so desirable as she did just then, with the hot colour in h?r cheeks. and the angry sparkle in her eyes. Indeed, it was with difficulty he retrained from telling her so; but next moment the situation was suddenly changed, for Winter and Christo- pher Elliot appeared from bah'nd the shed. The older man glanced at them sharply, for both the girl's expression and Harry's reso- lute attitude were suggestive and not alto- gether conventional. Winter, who was ac- quainted with Alison's imperious disposition, hung behind and tri?d not to smile. Then Harry broke the silence. Fve been mending the mower," I'-e ex- plained. So it would seem," said Christopher, with some dryness, glancing at his oil-stained at- tire and grimy banA: Has Alison been superintending? "No," said Harrv, candidly. "The fact is, we started a little discussion over the mower, which extended to—other matters." "Ah!" said Christopher; "one could ima- gine that you hadn't quite decided it yet. Maud, however, informed me that she is wait- ing for you." Harry left them, and he had wheeled the girl some distance down the road when she looked round at him, smiling, with a question in her eyes. I've discovered that Miss Elliot is a rather determined young lady." he informed her, CHAPTER XIX. It was a. sultry morning, 9.nd Harry was sit- ing somewhat moodily in front of his inn. He nad had no wor.. with Alison since the afternoon at Low Wood, which was some time ago, and though he had once seen her on the high l'Q<td f;!W hrd turned off into a Held path, at-i if desirou.s of avoiding him. There I' was no doubt that for some unknown reason he was out of favour. In addition to this, he was still without any idea of Walter's where- abouts. By-and-bye a trap stopped before the inn, and two of its occupants descending entered the building, Harry, who \\a<3 a little sur- prised to see them in that lonely spot, decided from their dress and appearance that they were business men from one of the larger cities, though their compaction who remained in the trap was of a different scamp. His face wa.s lean and brown, his ngure .spare but muscular; and Harry had seen men like him holding authority where new railways were driven into the heart of the Western ranges or operations were being commenced on some rich mineral claim. Then the landlady came out and asked if he would mind the strangers using his sitting- room. It appeared that they had arrived at the station some distance off by an early morning train, and desired to spend some hours in the neighbourhood. The driver who had brought them had another engagement to fulfil, and did not wish to take them to the village three miles away, which was the only other place where they could obtain break- T.i,tt, Harry told her to place his room at their disposal, and after she had gone in one of the newcoDMi's appeared in the doorway of the neNN,cow- ,?,rc; al)pe, and called to the man in the Lrap. We can get breakfast, and if you'll tell the driver to come in I'll pay him," he said. They've a trap here in which they'll drive us back." Harry was struck by the name he used. It wa<! not a common one, but he had heard of an English mining expert who bore it in British Columbia. The latter had been sent over during a dispute about a mineral claim, a,nd. Harry understood, had afterward'? gone to develop some silver workings in South America. After breakfast the strangers strolled to- wards the spo: where Harry was sitting, and found places upon a beuch close at hand. One of them passed him his c;g.-tr-ca,e. "I'understand we're indebted to you for letting us have your room," he said. I sup- pose you're a resident? It's a remarkably pretty place." N o," said Harry; ''I'm merely a visitor staying for the summer." This answer seemed to please the man, who added: "I'm told the lead mine's within walking distance." It isn't very far," said Harry. The cart road goes some way round, but there's a track which shortens the distance over the hill. As I've nothing on hand this morning, I'll show it you." One of the others declared that they would be glad of his company, and Harry turned to the man with the brown face. "I wonder," he said, if you were in British Columbia not long ago? The other admitted that he had been there. Then, as I've come over from that coun- try, I know who you are," Harry informed him. Has Mr. Elliot sent you to report upon his mine? "No," said the expert, rather shortly; I've no instructions from him." If that's the case, I had better warn you that you may have some dimculty in getting in. They're strict in keeping strangers out of the workings. In fact, it would be wiser to get my landlord to drive you across and ask Mr. Elliot for an order." He's in London," one of the others replied. I heard he came home last night," said Harry. He fancied his companions were not pleased with this information. It won't be necessary to trouble him, as we have permission from somebody else," said one of them. We'll start when you're ready." Harry, who set out with them, felt a little curious. It was evident they had brought the expert to examine the mine, but several things suggested that his report was not in- tended for Arnold Elliot's benefit. Indeed, Harry was inclined to fancy that they had chosen a time when they believed the latter was busy in London. As Arnold was manag- ing director, this struck him as strange. In the meanwhile he talked to. them about different matters until they reached the mine, where Mat came up to meet them. "We have come to look through the work- ings," one of them informed the latter. Got a note from Mr. Elliot? Mat inquired. Another of them gave him a piece of paper, which he glanced at and handed back. Very sorry, sir, but you'll have to get Mr. Elliot's name on it before I Let you down," he said. Look at the signature," replied the second man. Don't you know your direc- tors' names? Mat appeared unmoved. I've nowt to do with directors. Mr. Elliot's orders are to let nobody gan below without his permission." The newcomers glanced at one another, and the expert, who stretched out his hand for the order, made a sign to them unobserved by Mttt. After that he turned aside, and, light- ing a cigar, sauntered away, while Harry, who was becoming interested, sat down upon a neighbouring baulk of timber. The city men were evidently annoyed; but he expected something from the mining engineer. Harry had met and worked with men of the latter's kiud< and did not think he would be readily bamed. Then one of the others thrust his hand ostentatiously into his trousers' pocket before he turned to Mat. "Try to be reasonable," he said. The gentleman who signed the order had every right to do so. I don't suppose you want to give us unnecessary trouble? A gold coin gleamed in his hand as he drew it out; but the dalesman was not to be tempted. "No," he said, shortly. "You're wasting time. I eanna let you down." 9 U (To be continued).

I NEWS IN BRIEF.I

Advertising

IREPORTER" RAILWAY GU!DE.…

Advertising