Also Portlaw, in a vile humour with the little gods of high and low finance. One of these interviews occurred after his final evening adieux to the Cardross family and to Hamil. Shiela drove him to the hotel in Gray's motor, slowly, when they were out of sight, at Malcourt's request. "I wanted to give you another chance," he said.
"Did you notice anything particularly impertinent in Miss Suydam's question?" she asked quietly. "What question?" "When she asked me whether I was Miss Cardross." The slow colour again burned his bronzed skin. He made no reply, nor did she await any after a silent consideration of his troubled face. "Where did you hear about me?" she asked.
The earl had been right in his conclusions; he, with his keen insight into character, had judged Cardross better than the boy's own mother would have done.
"My Lord didna like to trouble the minister to be walking out this coarse day," said Malcolm, with true Highland ingenuity of politeness. "His lordship thocht that instead o' Mr. Cardross coming to him, he would just come to Mr. Cardross." "No, Malcolm," interposed the little voice, "it was not exactly that.
Constance, following her glance, saw, and signalled silent invitation; Malcourt sauntered up, paid his respects airily, and joined Hamil and Wayward; Virginia spoke in a low voice to Constance, then, leaning on the back of her chair, looked at Shiela as inoffensively as she knew how. She said: "I am very sorry for my rudeness to you. Can you forgive me, Miss Cardross?"
No doubt Hamil's in it already; probably Cardross put him next to a bunch of dreams and he's right in it at this very moment." "With the girl in the red handkerchief," added Malcourt. "I wish we had time." "I believe I've seen that girl somewhere," mused Portlaw.
Cardross, when he arrived, there was a shade less reserve in the Indian's greeting, and there was no mistaking the friendship between them. "Why did you speak to him in his own tongue?" asked Hamil of Shiela as they strolled together toward the palmetto-thatched, open-face camp fronting on Ruffle Lake. "He takes it as a compliment," she said. "Besides he taught me."
"You see," she said with a wistful smile, "this is not Shiela Cardross who sits here smiling into those brown eyes of yours. I think I died before you ever saw me; and out of the sea and the mist that day some changeling crept into your boat for your soul's undoing. Do you remember in Ingoldsby 'The cidevant daughter of the old Plantagenet line ?" They laughed like children.
Suddenly his heart stood still in dread of what his aunt was about to say. He knew already somehow that she was going to say it, yet when she spoke the tiny shock came just the same. "That," said his aunt, "is Shiela Cardross. Is she not too lovely for words?" "Yes," he said, "she is very beautiful."
He was athletic, graceful, and active; he learned to ride almost as soon as he could walk; and, under Malcolm's charge, was early initiated in all the mysteries of moor and loch. By fourteen years of age Cardross Bruce was the best shot, the best fisher, the best hand at an oar, of all the young lads in the neighborhood.