Unfortunately he had spoken to his brother in what he now felt to have been exaggerated terms of his passion for Mary Bonner, and he himself was aware that that malady had been quickly cured. "I suppose the news startled you?" he had said, with a forced laugh, as soon as he met his brother. "Well; yes, a little. I did not know that you were so intimate with them."
There's Indians out on the bluff! I heard 'em singing. I told him he was scared, but when I came back along the bank I could have sworn I saw something go flashing into the willows from this side, an' then came the cryin', and then you, sir." Bonner turned straightway to his own quarters, to the side porch at the doctor's and 'Tonio was gone.
As things settled down and took shape he began to feel that even in his present condition he might possibly make himself acceptable to such a girl as Mary Bonner. In respect of fortune there could be no reason whatever why he should not offer her his hand.
And here, to the post of Twenty Mile, came Jees Uck, to trade for flour and bacon, and beads, and bright scarlet cloths for her fancy work. And further, and unwittingly, she came to the post of Twenty Mile to make a lonely man more lonely, make him reach out empty arms in his sleep. For Neil Bonner was only a man.
Shepherd's Inn was but a few score of yards off, Old Castle Street was close by, the elegant young shopman pointed out the turning which the young lady was to take, and she and her companion walked off together. "Shepherd's Inn! what can you want in Shepherd's Inn, Miss Blanche?" Bonner inquired. "Mr. Strong lives there. Do you want to go and see the Captain?"
As to the second announcement he was absolutely at a loss. There must probably, he thought, have been some engagement before she left Jamaica. Not the less on that account was it an act of unpardonable ill-nature on the part of Sir Thomas, that telling of Polly Neefit's story to Mary Bonner at such a moment.
"What d'you think about Miss Amory, Lightfoot? tell us in confidence, now do you think we should do well you understand if we make Miss A. into Mrs. A. P.? Comprendy vous?" "She and her ma's always quarrelin'," said Mr. Lightfoot. "Bonner is more than a match for the old lady, and treats Sir Francis like that like this year spill, which I fling into the grate.
Wicker Bonner dropped him with a sledge-hammer blow, and when he returned to the cabin Bill was lying bound and gagged in the tent, a helpless captive. His conqueror, immensely satisfied, supplied himself with the surplus ends of "guy ropes" from the tent and calmly sat down to await the approach of the one called Sam, he who had doubtless gone to a rendezvous "for news."
"Go on," cried Bonner breathlessly. "Well, Sam Welch come to me in Branigan's place one night that's in Fourt' Avenue an' says he's got a big job on. We went over to Davy Wolfe's house an' found him an' his mother the old fairy, you remember.
The roof was clad with Sussex stone, lichen-covered, and a feast of colour from grey and vivid yellow to the most tender green. Mrs. Bonner herself was a comfortable body, built on ample and generous lines, a born house manager, a born cook, and of a cleanliness that she herself described as "scrutinous." So Hugh, casting about for a retreat, had happened on Mrs.